Hanging Chads Essay

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Hanging Chads The process of voting has come a long way since the mid 1700’s hundreds with its non-secret ballots. Today's electronic voting systems have revolutionized this political process in America; and will only continue to advance simultaneously with technology. The most obvious advantage of an electronic voting system is that millions more votes have been counted. The disadvantage is that as with any technology it takes time to work out the “bugs” in the system. This can take time and prove costly. (ProCon.org-Timeline) The November 7, 2000 election is a good example of this. The controversy that surrounded Florida's Palm Beach County’s “Hanging Chad” led to the wide spread use of electronic voting systems. As reported by Charles Wolf of USA Today, “75% of the nation's voters were forced to change the way they vote.” Charles Stewart of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology stated: About 1 million votes that used to be lost because of errors made on ballots are now being counted.” He further emphasized, “There’s probably another million votes to be had by making ballots less confusing and by making sure that the boring stuff of election administration is taken care of. (USA Today) In October of 2002, George Bush signed “The Help America Vote Act of 2002” (HAVA) into law. The law was designed to address voting technology and improve voting systems across the country. This law initiated many subcommittees to govern all areas of electronic voting and provided $3.9 billion in federal funding. Those federal funds were authorized to assist with replacing the old punch card and lever machines. (USA Today) The effect of HAVA on voting system usage is apparent from the 17% increase in the use of electronic voting machines coupled with an 18% decrease in the use of punch cards between the 2000 and 2004 Presidential elections. (Procon.org Voting

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